October 15, 2019 / 3:46 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's BTG Pactual says probes had no impact on asset management unit

(Adds financial details, company background)

By Carolina Mandl

SAO PAULO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian bank Banco BTG Pactual SA said its asset management unit had maintained the influx of new money in spite of two recent police investigations at the bank, its asset management chief executive, Eduardo Guardia, told journalists on Tuesday.

"Recent search and seizure warrants had no impact in the asset management business," he said. "I understand that the accusations are unfounded. There has been no new facts."

Brazil's federal police raided the headquarters of Latin America's largest independent investment bank twice in the last three months. In August, raids were related to the sale of stakes in African oilfields to BTG Pactual, and earlier this month the bank was investigated for alleged illegal leaking of interest rate decisions to a fund named Bintang.

BTG has said that it was only the administrator of the fund under investigation, and that it did not manage it or make investment decisions. The bank said in August that it had no evidence of unlawful conduct.

Guardia, Brazil's former finance minister, took the helm of BTG's asset management unit in July to oversee a business that holds nearly 230 billion reais ($55.47 billion) under management.

Andre Esteves, founder of BTG Pactual, was arrested in 2016 in a different corruption probe but was acquitted. Esteves is now asking the central bank to restore his controlling stake in the bank.

Guardia forecast BTG's assets under management will grow in the next 12 months, as funds in Brazil have benefitted from the country's gradual recovery and all-time low interest rates. He did not provide specific guidance on growth.

As individuals have been seeking higher returns out of plain vanilla government bond funds, Guardia said BTG's asset management unit is considering the launch of new and riskier funds, including private equity and infrastructure funds in Latin America. ($1 = 4.1463 reais) (Reporting by Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo Editing by David Evans and Matthew Lewis)

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